While technical skills are important, soft skills can really set you apart in the construction field. With the current talent shortage, construction firms need employees who can demonstrate leadership, empathy, communication, and other important soft skills. Here are the soft skills that can set you apart in construction.


Leadership is an important skill in construction. You need to be able to lead a team and manage subs. You also need to know how to draw clear boundaries and keep morale high. Leadership skills will only become more important with time as more people in leadership roles retire.


Empathy is another critical soft skill. Construction firms look for candidates who can read people and put themselves in other people’s shoes. The best employees don’t always agree with everyone, but they can see things through their eyes. This allows them to understand what motivates and drives people. People who have empathy are also better leaders. You can’t lead everyone the same way because everyone has their own unique experiences and perspectives. You need to be able to identify what makes them tick. What motivates one person can have the opposite effect on someone else. Empathy allows you to be a more adaptable leader.


In construction, you have to interact with clients and team members who come from all different kinds of backgrounds. For this reason, excellent communication is essential to succeeding in the construction industry. The best talent will be able to use their communication skills to lead architects and owners into a solution that’s good for everyone. Strong communication also adds to your credibility and shows people that you have confidence. It also helps you clearly explain problems and solutions so others will understand.

Conceptual Thinking

Conceptual thinking is also an important soft skill for construction because it helps with problem-solving. The best employees approach their work like a game of chess not as a game of checkers. You have to be strategic and have a conceptual mindset. You also need to see things through. You have to see the big picture. If you are good at conceptual thinking you can see a project through to completion and see it backwards (reverse engineering). You can’t move one step at a time and hope for the best. Strategies based on luck don’t work. You need to be able to predict outcomes and predict problems before they become obstacles. This is the difference between a conceptual estimator and a hard-bid estimator.

A Positive Outlook

The last skill that can set you a part is positive thinking and resilience. You can’t let roadblocks and the fear of failing stand in your way. You have to make the most of every situation. When a problem arises, you make it work anyway. You also need to have an alternative plan for everything. There are things that are out of your control, such as the weather, renovations, etc. You need to be prepared for the unexpected.

Soft skills can make you stand out in a competitive employment market. Construction firms don’t just look at hard skills. They want team members that display leadership, strong communication skills, positive thinking, empathy, and a conceptual mindset.


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